1912 Overland Model 61T Touring
$90,000 - $110,000
- From a prominent private collection
- Reportedly one of only seven surviving examples
- Recent cosmetic and mechanical rebuilding by noted Brass Era specialists
- Proven in several thousand miles of touring, with excellent power and drivability
The story of Overland is a roller coaster ride typical of many of our nation’s early automobile manufacturers. It was advanced for its time; for example, early models featured a removable ignition plug that prevented auto theft when left unattended. However, the firm was in danger of collapsing by 1907. John North Willys, a dealer from Elmira, New York, had a $10,000 deposit on an order of 500 cars. To prevent himself from losing the sales he had generated, he stepped in and assumed management of the struggling company. The newly reorganized Willys-Overland Company oscillated between the verge of bankruptcy and years of multi-million-dollar profit, and production continued until the 1930s.
The car offered here, a 45-horsepower Model 61T, represents the largest Brass Era Overland made up to this time, and according to the owner is one of seven examples known to survive, distinguished by the tool boxes incorporated into the running boards. Originally restored in the 1960s, it was subsequently acquired by the well-known Brass Era enthusiasts Wendell “Ohlly” and Marilyn Ohlendorf, who had admired it on a Glidden Tour. It was eventually sold in 1979 to Don and Nancy Sonicsen of Illinois, who continued to tour with it for the next 25 years. The current owners acquired the car from Mrs. Sonicsen in 2008.
According to the consignor, within the last 4,000 miles it has received an outstanding paint job by the well-known restorer John Sanders of Antique Autos of Rockford, Illinois. The engine was rebuilt by longtime VMCCA and HCCA member Keith Kruse of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and with an overdrive added to the transmission, the car now cruises nicely at 50 mph with four passengers aboard. A 12-volt electric starter and lights have been added, along with an alternator, and the ignition updated with a Henschel two-spark distributor. The rear-wheel brakes are described as “excellent.” A new clutch from Bob Knaak of California was installed, and the rear differential was rebuilt, along with remanufacturing both axle shafts. The tires have fewer than 2,000 miles, and the two spares at the rear have never been on the ground. Furthermore, for easy maintenance, all of the brass lamps have been polished and coated by Rick Britten.
A fine, proven automobile for AACA, HCCA, and VMCCA tours, as well as for show, this is an excellent example of an iconic marque from early American motoring history.